For Real Estate Professionals

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Is Real Estate Continuing Education Tax Deductible?

An agent's real estate continuing education expenses are tax deductibleThe answer is yes, real estate continuing education is tax deductible, provided you meet a couple of requirements.
First, the continuing education must be required for continued licensure or advancement within your current profession, or it must maintain or improve job skills in your current profession.

Second, the continuing education cannot be something that qualifies you for a new profession. The continuing education also cannot be the minimal level of education required to work in your business.

Initial Licensure

Generally, you won’t be able to deduct the cost of obtaining your first real estate license (though your broker may be willing to reimburse you for the initial cost of licensure).

Deductions for Real Estate Continuing Education

What real estate continuing education expenses can be deducted? continue reading

Home Staging Certifications – A Complete Guide

Have you ever tried to explain to potential clients what the letters “CRS” stand for and the value they hold if they hire you? Sure, the courses required to receive the Council of Residential Specialists designation – such as how to improve listing presentations and market your business – will come in handy for you. But what does the client get out of it?

Now, imagine you have a home staging certification. Not only is there no explanation needed, but potential clients will instantly see the value in the designation and understand what sets you apart from other agents.

The bonus? Since they won’t have to hire a stager, using you as the listing agent gives them more bang for their buck. There’s nothing like a bit of added justification for that supposed “huge” commission you make, right?

Why Bother Getting a Home Staging Certification?

Donna Kerr with Gerlach Real Estate in Silver Spring, Md., considers staging her company’s niche and steadfastly believes it adds value to the listing process. “Our average commission here is $12,000 plus, and you have to be doing something significant in order to justify earning that. So, this is what we do and our clients feel it adds value,” Kerr explained.

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Job Growth, Not “Rebound Effect,” Now Drives U.S. Home Price Gains

U.S. home prices increased 0.8 percent month-over-month in July – which was much lower (relatively speaking) than June’s 1.2 percent month-over-month home price increase, but equal to the average monthly home price gain over the last year.

While U.S. home prices aren’t rising as fast as they were in Spring 2013, when home prices looked like they’d been “hit with a booster rocket,” still 97 of the country’s 100 largest metros have posted year-over-year price gains, and 94 metros have experienced quarter-over-quarter gains.

July 2014 U.S. home price changes chart using Trulia Price Monitor data continue reading

Real Estate Trends: Can Local Markets Predict Changes in U.S. Home Prices?

Is there a local housing market whose performance indicates how well the national housing market will do? If so, could we use such a market to anticipate the next big real estate boom or bust? The idea of having a “crystal ball” local housing market is certainly an attractive one; the mayhem caused by the 2007-2008 housing bubble could have been avoided (or, at the very least, mitigated) if the real estate industry and the U.S. as a whole knew it was coming.

To find out, Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko looked at home price changes between 1980 and 2014 in the 100 largest U.S. metros and compared them to U.S. home price changes over the same time period. Each metro was given a “crystal-ball score” that shows the correlation between its year-over-year home price changes with the year-over-year home price changes in the national market one year later. continue reading

NAR Annual Attendees: Get the Inside Scoop on San Francisco

November 5, 2013

We’re sharing our favorite spots to eat, drink and be merry to make your San Francisco experience even more enjoyable.

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The 2013 REALTORS® Conference and Expo is about to begin and we are thrilled to welcome real estate agents and brokers from across the country to our hometown!  The spirit of San Francisco is deeply ingrained into who we are and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Our offices are located just one block from Moscone Center so we compiled a list of some of our favorite places to grab a bite, indulge in a drink, or spend some time relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Some of our tips are classic don’t-miss spots – like Waterbar where you can dine on fresh oysters while you take in an unmatched view of the Bay Bridge. Others are trendier spots that we can’t get enough of – like Blue Bottle Coffee where the brew is strong and well worth the wait.

Download the Inside Scoop San Francisco and start planning your trip today. We’ll be posting our updates and special events throughout the week or you can always visit us at booth #719. See you at the show!

Download the Mobile or Printed Version for easy access throughout the conference.

4 Next-Gen Home Buyer & Seller Neuroses

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
August 5, 2013

Real estate transactions place a particularly complex set of psychological and emotional stressors on buyers and sellers.  Clients are supposed to make wise financial decisions, find (but manage!) their emotional passion for a property, do diligent research, and handle an uncanny list of logistics – all at once.

This has been the case since the dawn of the real estate business. But the last decade has added two line items to this list of stressors that have sent some buyers and sellers over the edge – and pushed many others right to the (deal-breaking) brink:

  • The biggest recession in American history is one — this has ratcheted up buyers’ and sellers’ financial fears and the pressure to make smart, sustainable decisions.

  • The advent of the internet is the other — now that every bit of market data and advice is literally at hand, real estate consumers can overwhelm themselves and fall prey to “analysis paralysis” in the effort to get informed.

Client mindsets, unmanaged, kill deals. And you can’t manage what you don’t first understand. Even worse than glitching up your close rate, some of these anxieties can actually cause panic, paralysis and poor decisions. Let’s take a little trip inside the minds of our post-recession, constantly-connected home buyers and sellers, to get a better understanding for their freak-out moments and sticking points. continue reading

4 Housing Risks that Could Cause the Market to Misfire

If we’re not heading into a bubble, if rising rates won’t derail the recovery, and if more inventory will soothe prospective buyers’ jangled nerves, are there any risks to the housing market for the rest of 2013? You bet. There absolutely are. Topping my watch list for the rest of the year are four big questions:  continue reading

7 Serious Worries of Today’s Home Buyers

July 26, 2013

This year’s home-buying season looks nothing like last year’s. With mortgage rates and home prices rising, the best deals are long gone. Furthermore, there are fewer homes for sale now than one year ago. To what lengths will desperate house hunters go to snag the house of their dreams, and what are they most worried about? To get the answers to these questions, Trulia worked with Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,029 U.S. adults between June 24-26, 2013.

What did we learn?

Prospective home buyers are worried.  For many the pain of a booming real estate market translates into serious, potentially immobilizing,  anxiety. As an agent, you need to know the fears and concerns you’re up against. So, here’s the list of serious buyer concerns and how they measure up. We hope you’ll find the data helpful as you’re counseling and selling this summer. continue reading

This Week’s Housing News

This past week, Case-Shiller reported another huge sales-price gain, and mortgage rates moved up again to around 4.5%. But last week also saw a major new proposal for reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which triggered lots of bigthink about housing policy: continue reading

5 Most Popular Agent Trainings of 2013 (so far)

Jovan Hackley
June 28, 2013

Many of you have e-mailed the Trulia Training Team asking about alternate times for webinars or to get the recordings from some of our most popular sessions. We’ve heard you loud and clear. 

You are the inspiration for this post and this quality on-demand training we hope you can fit into your schedule. continue reading